Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), known locally as Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika (KemKominfo), has commenced spectrum refarming of the 800MHz and 900MHz bands. The process – which arises from the passing of Decree No. 998 of December 2018 (Concerning the Re-Arrangement of 800MHz and 900MHz Radio Frequency Bands for the Need for Organising Cellular Mobile Networks), and SDPPI Decree No. 29 / DIRJEN / January 2019 (Concerning Technical Guidelines for the Rearrangement of 800MHz and 900MHz Radio Frequency Bands for the Need for Organising Cellular Mobile Networks) – began on 23 January 2019, it said, and affects mobile network operators (MNOs) Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) and Indosat Ooredoo. Unlike KemKominfo’s rearrangement of the 2.1GHz band which was concluded in April 2018 involving three MNOs, this time the re-tuning of the use of the lower bands only involves two cellular operators, it confirmed.
In announcing the plan, KemKominfo head of public relations Ferdinandus Setu explained that the refarming exercise would begin in some Riau Islands clusters and will continue to completion for all Telkomsel and Indosat networks throughout Indonesia. In accordance with the data from the Directorate of Resources Planning, a department within the Directorate General of Resources and Equipment of Post and Information Technology, the entire exercise will involve no fewer than 42,000 network elements (i.e. base stations) operating at 800MHz and 900MHz, and is expected to be completed no later than 21 March 2019. As it stands, the radio frequency bands used by MNOs lack consistency and are still not contiguous – in particular the spectrum held by Telkomsel. The refarming and reallocation is intended to improve efficiency and better optimise the use of radio frequency bands, with the ultimate aim of achieving contiguous radio frequency bands for all Indonesian cellular operators to enable them to implement advanced mobile broadband services more easily.